JACINTO CITY – The North Channel Chamber’s monthly luncheon took on the aspect of a classroom last week, as Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan explained the working of his office, and expanded his thoughts to include city and county government in general.
Ryan is well experienced in both, having served for many years as assistant county attorney under Mike Driscoll, and previous to that as a Houston city councilman.
Ryan said that the duty of his office is to represent all County employees and offices in Civil Matters before the courts.
He discussed the powers and limitations of county governments in Texas, noting that they are arms of the legislature, and can only undertake activities prescribed by the Texas legislature. They have no power to make laws or regulations on their own. He contrasted this with city government, where those such as Houston have a Strong Mayor form, and can make laws and enforce them.
However, he went on to describe some initiatives his office has taken, including prosecuting polluters such as the Waste Pits in the San Jacinto River, child safety laws for CPS, game room prosecutions, junk yard regulations, and more.
He noted that the county has limited resources for all these activities, and some have been undertaken with contract attorneys paid for from outside sources.